At City University of Hong Kong we had a policy of developing double degrees so students could become dually qualified in Hong Kong and another legal system such as China or the USA. There are now a number of successful programmes between common law and civil law countries. However, one should not underestimate the investment needed to bring these programmes to fruition. NUI Galway College of Business, Public Policy and Law has developed impressive options for students to study abroad in their third year. This is an effective means of allowing a high number of students to benefit from an overseas experience.
I would need another essay to explain the benefits of having international students on our campus. The benefits are hopefully obvious to those students and the societies they take the skills learned in Galway back to. What is less often appreciated is how they enrich our community and the classroom experience. I suspect we could do more to tap into the diverse perspectives they can bring to many topics.
For those who are utilitarian, internationalisation is an important dimension of many rankings. I felt very proud when City U Hong Kong law school was ranked #1 for Internationalisation. That also helped raise our overall ranking score. However, we did well because we were committed to Internationalisation. The ranking was a nice result, but we were driven by a genuine desire to be international. There were some natural advantages in being situated in Asia’s Global City and next door to China, whose students and staff members were categorised as being International. But we were successful because we invested in our commitment to transnational education and research. We hosted many research events and staff were willing to offer classes in our partner universities.
Attractive partners have many suitors and soon see through those who are not genuine and either have no plans for how to co-operate or see all the benefits flowing in one direction. So I would encourage us all to embrace the Global Galway project and to do so with ambition and authenticity. Have good ideas and be confident in the attractiveness of NUI Galway as a partner.
One final plea is to try not to be obsessed with rankings. This may be hard when many of your potential partners will be and will judge you by your ranking and the company you keep. Some universities that have risen up the rankings would not have collaborated with themselves a few years previously! You need to find compatible partners, but I would look to the substance rather than simply follow fashion. Your best partner may be lower or higher ranked. The goal is to find one with the same values and commitment.